Former driving instructor from Thetford jailed for causing death by careless driving

PUBLISHED: 20:23 16 January 2014 | UPDATED: 20:23 16 January 2014

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A former driving instructor, who admitted causing death by careless driving, has been jailed.

Darius Gelezauskas, 46, previously of St Martins Way, Thetford, but now believed to be of Portal Close in Barnham, appeared at Norwich Crown Court today to be sentenced after he previously pleaded guilty to causing the death of 61-year-old Timothy Edwards by careless driving.

The court heard the crash took place at about 6am on the A143 Bury Road on December 3 2012.

The defendant, who was driving a green Audi A6 and was on his way to work, was on the wrong side of the road when he was involved in a head-on crash with Mr Edwards’ car which was travelling in the opposite direction. A third car, an Alfa Romeo, travelling behind Mr Edwards’ car was also damaged in the crash.

Sentencing Gelezauskas to 14 months imprisonment, and banning him from driving for two years, Judge Mark Lucraft said: “Sentencing in cases of death by careless driving are some of the most difficult for judges to deal with.

“A sentence can’t change what’s happened, it can’t bring back to others the loss of a loved one.”

But Judge Lucraft said any sentence had to reflect the courts view of the seriousness of what happened.

He said driving on the wrong side of the road, particularly on a single carriageway road where the speed limit was 60mph, “even for a short distance” was “a very serious misjudgment”.

He added the victim had been driving in a “sensible” and “safe” manner.

Chris Youell, prosecuting, said the defendant was on his way to work, having picked up other colleagues, in Haverhill when the crash happened.

Driving in the opposite direction was Mr Edwards, a married father and grandfather, who was driving a red VW Golf.

The defendant, who was on the wrong side of the road, collided with Mr Edwards who later died at the scene.

The court heard the driver of the Alfa Romeo behind Mr Edwards describe how the victim’s car had suddenly started to travel back towards him and was airborne following the crash.

Mr Youell said: “As a result of injuries sustained in the head on collision Mr Edwards was trapped in the vehicle.”

He added: “His condition deteriorated at the scene. He started off having breathing difficulties and then lost his pulse. An emergency extraction was carried out and attempts were made to revive him and he was given CPR but unsuccessfully.”

The outcome of a police investigation into the crash was that the defendant, who had a clean driving licence and had been a driving instructor in Lithuania, had been on the wrong side of the road “for reasons that are unexplained”.

Mr Youell said the victim “had effectively no opportunity to avoid a head on collision”.

Andrew Oliver, mitigating, said his client, a father of two with an elderly mother whose health has been affected by what has happened, was “still unable to provide an explanation as to why this happened”.

He said: “He accepts being on the wrong side of the road and accepts being at fault by his plea and what he said to police.”

He added: “It’s a haunting factor for him that he’s unable to offer to the court or anyone else who was involved or affected by this incident a reason or explanation for why it happened.

“He’s extremely remorseful for what happened and sends through me his deepest and sincerest apology to the family of Mr Edwards and knows the suffering they gave gone through.”

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